Appreciating the Upper Delaware

By EVAN PADUA, Sweetwater Guide Service LLC
Posted 4/6/22

The Upper Delaware is an amazing resource and treasure for us who live near and recreate within its watershed. It is a complete ecosystem, a river that brings life, death and everything in …

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Appreciating the Upper Delaware


The Upper Delaware is an amazing resource and treasure for us who live near and recreate within its watershed. It is a complete ecosystem, a river that brings life, death and everything in between.

Some of my most enjoyable moments have been on or near the Upper Delaware River. Having grown up in Narrowsburg, NY and the surrounding area, it has been the main resource for recreation and work for most of my life.

I operate a fishing guide service and get to meet a lot of visitors, locals and second homeowners in the area. A common statement I hear on my boat is “Look how clear the water is.” The river’s water quality ranks very high compared to many other watersheds in the eastern United States. Because of this, many of its major tributaries are dammed to supply drinking water to the nearby metropolis New York City and the surrounding area. So any water not being used as drinking water flows freely past our communities to the ocean. We have approximately 330 miles of undammed river water on the main stem of the Delaware from Hancock, NY to the Delaware Bay. It does get more turbid and polluted the closer it gets to the ocean, but still provides an incredible amount of life and resources to its riverside communities. As it is the source for drinking water for millions of people and as it is the main water vein for many communities, the Delaware deserves to be appreciated.

We as people have a large effect on the world we live in. The need to be aware and cognizant of our actions and how they affect our surrounding world is imperative. This is to be done from our day-to-day living to the time we actually spend on or near a river.

At-home practices for conserving water can start with using less water and being aware of household pollutants in your local drainages. Less pollution equals a healthier ecosystem.

When my wife and I bike to the river in the summer months, we swim and snorkel to exercise and observe the incredible underwater world. Then as we leave, picking up even one piece of poorly placed trash makes us feel like we are doing our part in appreciating the river itself. The little  things do make a difference when many people participate in these acts of appreciation. Volunteering in your local towns’ litter sweep or river clean-up events are a great way to help and raise awareness about pollution.

As a fisherman, I understand my direct impact on the river and its ecosystem. I am very aware and do my best to responsibly catch, release and harvest fish. When fishing, I make sure to employ practices that avoid being wasteful or damaging to the river or the fish. General practices of sustainability and conservation from all community members will always help.

The message I want to convey is to take a moment and really appreciate what the river has done for you. It is different for all of us, and we can come from different places of appreciation to become a driving force in the overall conservation of our local and distant ecosystems. In this changing world, I believe this to be an important matter going forward throughout our human existence.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer. While out and about, please be respectful, responsible and appreciative of river ecosystems. Do your part in leaving recreation areas better than how they were found. Every person’s actions can lead to a cleaner and healthier world.

Upper Delaware River, fishing guide service, water quality, conservation, trash, ecosystems


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